It’s truly rare that any film can so completely and wholeheartedly deliver absolutely nothing on every possible level achievement. While failure itself is not exactly a rare commodity in Hollywood, you’d think a highly successful, veteran director like John McTiernan (Die Hard) could at least manage to do it with a little style.
Rollerball stars the painfully talentless, glaringly fresh-faced Chris Klein in a remake of the 1975 James Caan film of the same name. The merits of the original are irrelevant, because whatever it was, it’s impossible to even fathom the possibility that this in any way could have been better. Backing up the white bread Klein is his token black guy partner played by L.L. Cool J and his ultra sassy love interest played by Rebecca “I’m the only conceivable reason to see this film” Romijn-Stamos.
I’m told the original is about a semi-futuristic sport ruled by evil corporations who value the lives of their players even less than they do the morality of their sport. Let’s assume for arguments sake that the remake follows a similar plotline, since even though I’ve seen the 2002 version, I’m not entirely sure what it was about. I’m fairly certain Chris Klein gets drafted to play on a team with L.L. Cool J and Rebecca Romijn and I’m almost positive that the team was playing a game called Rollerball. Then some people died and everyone skated around a lot. But beyond some gratuitous, topless, female weight lifting, little else of consequence seemed to happen.
Oh sure, Jean Reno wanders about playing some sort of bad guy, and in the end I imagine good triumphs over evil, but McTiernan and his hackneyed bunch of no-talents never give me a reason to care. You’d think he could at least deliver some sort of high paced action around the game, but nothing seems to deliver. The game itself should be the centerpiece, and indeed it is, if this film actually has a center. But the matches themselves seemed to be intentionally filmed to make the game totally incomprehensible. Even the in-game announcer seems fairly unsure as to exactly how the game is played. Pulse pounding hits, ripped from a “Worlds Greatest Sports Injuries” video are frequent, yet even those seem to be filmed in an intentionally un-interesting manner. You never understand the game, you never get a sense for where anyone is on the track, you don’t even know if that yellow guy over in the corner is supposed to be beating the shit out of the little red guy or not.
I think somewhere along the way one of the studio monkey’s must have realized what a bad film this is, and rushed into the editing room to quickly cover it up with the loudest soundtrack imaginable. This in itself might have at least given me something else to think about, while mercilessly mocking the film and throwing half-eaten Junior Mints at the screen, had that same executive orangotang not also chosen the most ANNOYING soundtrack as well. I’m not just talking music here folks. That in itself was bad enough. However, these goofballs couldn’t even get their sound effects right. I distinctly heard several sounds stolen from a Road Runner cartoon I watched earlier this morning while munching down Captain Crunch and reading the funnies. After Rollerball I needed watch something with depth.
It’s not that I hate the people in this movie; it’s just that I wish they were dead. Except sweet, sexy Rebecca, we need her for the next X-Men movie. Send Romijn-Stamos to me and ban the rest from Hollywood. No one is innocent. All are to blame. I bet this will do great overseas. After all, I’m told somewhere across the big blue even David Hasselhoff has a career.
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